Glass sponge (Aphrocallistes beatrix)

Photo Credit: S.W. Ross and M. Rhode (UNCW)

Description: While they’re not actually made of glass, glass sponges have see-through bodies made up of spines that are composed of silicon. They may live for hundreds of years, and some species have chemical compounds that have medicinal benefits. The Venus flower basket, a close relative to this glass sponge, is a traditional gift given in Japanese wedding ceremonies symbolizing “till death do us part,” because the sponge houses a male and female shrimp that have a symbiotic relationship with the sponge; the shrimp clean the sponge and the sponge provides food and shelter for the shrimp.

Geographic Distribution

Figure 1: Relative probability of occurrence of Glass sponge (Aphrocallistes beatrix) based on computer generated distribution maps. Data source: Aquamaps

Depth Profile

Figure 2: Approximate depth range of Glass sponge (black box). Slope of seafloor is a generalized representation of the Gulf of Mexico shelf and outer continental shelf.